How to stay on a consultant’s radar
With consultants being such a prominent part of many review processes, agencies want to make sure they stay on each consultant’s radar. However, there is a good and bad way to do that, according to some of the panelists. Wohlwerth said he hears from around 25-50 agencies a week, and while he welcomes updates, he says receiving weekly emails is overkill.
“We like to get updates, but I have agencies that give me an email every week and I think four times a year is good ... and don't aggregate the news,” Wohlwerth said. “I read the news myself. I don't need your aggregation.”
Goodall said that emails should be no more than one page, but there “isn’t a substitute for great work” to get noticed. Humbert also says emails should be no more than one page but she also suggested that agencies find new ways to “shake it up” once in a while.
“If it's any longer than that [than one page], I'm going to save it to read later,” Humbert said. It's our job to know what you're up to and what agencies have momentum but make it easy for us.”
Humbert went on to give an example of a Detroit agency that sends SRI a postcard, which she called “charming" and said “breaks through the clutter."
For Paull, insights are a way to stick out. He said one report he often shares with his clients is Wavemaker’s report about CES takeaways and trends.
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Be a good loser
An unfortunate aspect of the pitch process is that every agency has experienced that feeling of being a finalist for an account but ultimately coming short. However, the process doesn’t end there and it’s important for agencies in a way to be a “graceful loser," Goodall said.
“I think we've all probably had an experience where a client hired an agency and it didn't work out and they went back to the agency that came in second. It’s very important to be a graceful loser and extend that communication to the clients and to the search consultant because it will pay off, it comes back to you, I think often.”
“I know this tears the heart out of agencies and what I like to do is say, 'Look, I've got bad news for you,' and I always like to have them process it, give them a couple of days,” Wohlwerth added. “I like them to get on the phone with our clients because we're just the intermediary. But I've gotten some agencies that are just so pissed, the opposite of gracious. If I get treated like that, I'm going to think twice before putting you in another review.”
All the consultants on the panel said that it isn’t easy to let agencies know they didn’t win, especially when the decision was close between a few agencies.
“New business is a game of inches,” Humbert said. “If we're doing our job right, you're all worthy candidates.”